vSphere Automation 101 – Mass Migrations (Orchestrator)

This one isn’t so much a long winded explanation post as the last one. Rather this one highlights the usefulness of vCenter Orchestrator and it’s built in workflows for facilitating the mass migration of virtual resources.

The Scenario

This guy comes in… and if you’ve seen the movie, you’re hearing it in his voice too:

“Ummm, we’re going to need you to come in on Saturday. We’ve recently had to let go of some folks so we’re all putting in some extra effort to get migrated into our new vSphere cluster and awesome array from $vendor… mmm kay?”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to work on that whole work/life balance thing, and well, this is not going to fly. Not at all.


With all due respect to the PowerCLI folks, I know it can be done there and is highlighted as one of the many, many wonderful things you can put together using the “VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference”. In fact, it may be the subject of a future post. vCO however makes this point and click simple… as you’ll see.

vCenter Orchestrator to the Rescue

If you don’t have vCO installed, you can start here. If you need more convincing as to why you should use vCO, you can also look here. When presented with a situation like the one above, or similar, vCO comes pre-rolled with a pretty robust workflow to handle this.


Before beginning you will need to do a few things:

  • Configure your vSphere cluster
  • Configure your storage
  • Have the following information handy:
    • VMs to migrate
    • Destination Datastore
    • Destination host/hosts
    • Destination Resource Pool (if any)
    • Will you be changing disk type?

The Workflow


As pictured above, you’ll need to drill down to “Library > vCenter > Virtual Machine Management > Mass migrate virtual machines with vMotion”.

In the resulting window, provide the information you gathered in the “Preparation” section:

Hit submit and then wait, depending on how much data you are schlepping, it could take a while. If you still have to go in on Saturday to make this happen, you can at least fire up NetFlix to help the time go by.


Boom! At least that’s the sound something as awesome what we just did was. If you find yourself in a similar situation, use the above. If not, you should still roll out vCO and explore some of the built in workflows to make your life as a vSphere admin much easier. (Fake Luberg award goes to http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewatergirl/)